In today’s economy, almost everyone is putting extra effort in at work to avoid being downsized or eliminated. There are also plenty of workaholics for whom work is almost a second spouse, in any economy. This puts a huge strain on people mentally and emotionally, but it also takes its toll on marriages. According to researchers at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, marriages in which one spouse (or both) is a workaholic are twice as likely to end in divorce.
Forbes.com has a great article called “How to Survive a Workaholic Spouse” and in it, experts explain that the emotional unavailability of the workaholic spouse is often more detrimental their physical absence.
Workaholics are [emotionally] unavailable because their work life is their life,” says Diane Fassel, organizational consultant and author of Working Ourselves to Death. “In gathering stories for my book, I heard so many workaholic spouses say, “I thought I married a human being, not a human doing.’”
Fassel and other experts offer some helpful tips on making your marriage work when your spouse is always working.
1. Stop Enabling the Overwork
By adjusting the family’s schedule to include the workaholic spouse, you enable them to have it both ways. Stick to your normal routine (putting the kids to bed on time, having dinner at a normal hour) so that the workaholic spouse has a chance to miss what they’re missing out on. It may help them to see that they need some balance between work and family.
2. Find a Mutual Hobby to Bring You Together
Bryan Robinson, former professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, has studied the effects of workaholism on family life and says that workaholics tend to feel like they should be doing something at all times. He suggests finding a hobby or outlet that both of you are interested in, to motivate your workaholic spouse to spend time together.
3. Work Together to Map Out a Plan
Cali Williams Yost, the author of “Work+Life: Finding the Fit That’s Right for You” advises sitting down together to map out both long and short term plans for both work and family life. Workaholics are task and goal oriented and having an actual, written and agreed-upon plan can keep you both on the same page.
Being married to a workaholic can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to mean that your marriage is unsatisfying or lonely. By talking together and setting boundaries, you can find ways to work around too much work.